ST. LOUIS (AP) —Troy Brouwer tapped in his own rebound to snap a third-period tie and the St. Louis Blues advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in four seasons, eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinals series Monday night.
Brouwer, who played for the Blackhawks’ Cup winner in 2010 and was among the veteran additions to a team trying to break through, swiped in a backhander. The goal at 8:31 was his first in 24 postseason games since 2013.
It is the first time the Blues advanced past the first round since 2012, when they beat San Jose in five games but then lost four straight to Los Angeles.
Jori Lehtera scored his first career playoff goal and rookie defenseman Colton Parayko also scored for the Blues, who avoided another inglorious finish. They led 2-0 early before the Blackhawks tied it in the second period.
Chicago just missed a chance to tie it when Brent Seabrook’s shot went off both posts with about 3:30 left.
Marian Hossa scored his third goal of the series and Andrew Shaw got his fourth on a power play for the Blackhawks. Patrick Kane was dangerous all night but was scoreless, and was minus-2.
The Blackhawks have won three of the last five Cups — but when they don’t win it all, the postseason can be a short one, with three first-round eliminations the last six seasons.
Brouwer, playing in his seventh career Game 7, scored from close range off a feed from Robby Fabbri. The first shot went off the right post and he nudged the second past Corey Crawford.
St. Louis was coached by the Blackhawks’ Joel Quenneville the last time it played in a Game 7, a loss at Vancouver in 2003. The Game 7 win was the franchise’s first since 1999.
The Blues outscored the Blackhawks 7-3 in the first period in the series, but Chicago owned the second period with an 11-3 advantage. That included the first three of five unanswered goals in Game 6 on Saturday.
Blues standout Vladimir Tarasenko was no factor after entering among the playoff leaders with four goals. He went to the locker room for about 2 1/2 minutes midway through the second for undisclosed reasons and his ice time was down, just as it has been earlier in the series.
Game 7 drew a standing-room attendance of 19,935 and the arena had seldom been louder than after Parayko’s drive from the point made it 2-0 at 13:43 of the first period. Lehtera’s deflection on Jay Bouwmeester’s point shot gave St. Louis an early cushion just a minute in.
The Blackhawks had a 7-0 shots advantage the rest of the period and Hossa’s third of the series, a drive from the top of the right circle on the counter-attack, cut the deficit to one at 18:30.
Chicago made it 14 shots in a row at the start of the second period, including the tying goal by Shaw from a bad angle off the leg of Bouwmeester crouching in the crease and past Brian Elliott.
NOTES: The Blackhawks made no lineup changes. The Blues re-inserted rookie D Joel Edmundson after sitting two games in place of Robert Bortuzzo. … The 37-year-old Hossa has 149 career playoff points, including 52 goals. … The Blues outscored the Blackhawks 7-3 in the first period in the series.
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